Dowson's Classical Dictionary
of Hindu Mythology] 'A howler
or roarer; terrible.' In the Vedas Rudra has many attributes and many
names. He is the howling terrible god, the god of storms, the father
of the Rudras or Maruts, and is sometimes identified with the god of
fire. On the one hand he is a destructive deity who brings diseases upon
men and cattle, and upon the other he is a beneficient deity supposed
to have a healing influence. These are the germs which afterwards developed
into the god Siva. It is worthy of note that Rudra is first called Mahadeva
in the White Yajurveda. As applied to the god Siva, the name of Rudra
generally designates him in his destructive character. In the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad the Rudras are "ten
vital breaths (prana) with the heart (manas) as eleventh." In
the Vishnu Purana the god Rudra is said to have sprung from the forehead of
Brahma, and at the command of the god to have separated his nature into male
and female, then to have multiplied each of these into eleven persons, some
of which were white and gentle, others black and furious. Elsewhere it is said
that the eleven Rudras were sons of Kasyapa and Surabhi, and in another chapter
of the same Purana it is represented that Brahma desired to create a son, and
that Rudra came into existence as a youth. He wept and asked for a name. Brahma
gave him the name of Rudra; but he wept seven times more, and so he obtained
seven other names: Bhava, Sarva, Isana, Pasupati, Bhima, Ugra, and Mahadeva.
Other of the Puranas agree in this nomenclature. These names are sometimes
used for Rudra or Siva himself, and at others for the seven manifestations
of him, sometimes called his sons. The names of the eleven Rudras vary considerably
in different books.
Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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